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Expensive wine 52: d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2008

71117492That the best news for the Australian wine business in the past couple of years is the decline in the value of the Aussie dollar says everything anyone needs to know about the struggles the wine industry is enduring Down Under.

There are too many grapes, too many indifferently made cheap wines, and too many expensive wines made in the Parkerized style that is no longer popular.

Having said that, I’ve tasted several Australian wines in the past year that demonstrate that not everyone is at a loss about what to do next. Yalumba’s $10 wines are everything that most of the rest of the country’s $10 wines aren’t.

And The Dead Arm ($65, sample, 14.5%), like most of d’Arenberg’s products, does the same thing for expensive wine. It’s dark and interesting, with earthiness and spiciness up front and layers and layers and layers of black fruit flavors after that. It’s not so much that it’s well made; it should be for this price. The stunner is that it’s a value at $65, an absolutely amazing and complex wine that tastes of Australia ande the McLaren Vale region, but isn’t over-ripe or over-alcoholic.

Highly recommended. Drink now, or buy to age for a couple of years or even longer. It should become rounder and more integrated and that much more fun to drink. What more can we want from a wine?

Father’s Day wine 2011

A few thoughts for the wine-loving Dad in your life, and remember the wine gift-giving guidelines. The most important? Buy wine that Dad likes, not wine that you think he should like:

d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab 2009 ($14, sample): Today's metaphysical wine question: Why does Australia bother with so much of the "wine" that it makes when it can do white Rhone blends like this? Crisp, clean and refreshing, with a bit of lime and peach. May be able to find this for as little as $12.

Project Paso Red 2009 ($14, sample): Decent value for what it is, with lots of red fruit (though not much to differentiate it from other wines in its class). A good choice if it shows up on a restaurant wine list. And let's not forget the zork closure.

J Pinot Noir Nicole's Vineyard 2007 ($50, sample): Pricey yes, but top-notch California pinot noir with some earthiness in front, quality black fruit throughout (and not too much of it), and a long, terroir-driven finish. Just a lovely wine.

For more on Father’s Day wine:
Wine of the week: Evodia 2009
Father's Day wine 2010
Father's Day wine 2009
Wine review: Sangre de Toro 2008

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